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UC students take aim at real world issues through summer program

Mike Verzosa

19 February 2024: Students from the University of Canberra celebrated the culmination of the Innovation Central Canberra (ICC) Summer Intensive Program with a presentation and awards ceremony at the Bruce campus’ Advanced Engineering Laboratory.

ICC is an initiative under the University of Canberra-CISCO partnership, which provides industry and government with access to world class research and collaboration opportunities.

The ICC Summer Intensive is a 10-week program designed to enable UC students to work on real world issues and build corresponding solutions in collaboration with industry partners.

The ICC Summer Intensive Program students

“Today is a celebration of the amazing work that our students have done in collaboration with our industry partners,” said Professor Janine Deakin, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology.

“UC has a plan within its Connected strategy which looks at the impact of the research and innovation work we are doing at the University – this program embodies this connection, and the impact of what we are doing, by bringing the University, our students, and industry closer.”

Louise Wakefield, Business Manager of the Industry Capability Network (ICN) ACT, one of the industry partners who worked with students over the summer, welcomed the opportunity to work with the “next generation of innovators and leaders”.

“ICN ACT sees great potential in partnering with the students and the ICC team, not only for developing solutions in our organisation, but also as another way to support small and medium-sized enterprises in our region,” Ms Wakefield said.

Three of the program’s student projects were presented during the event.

In collaboration with Orion Health, Bachelor of Information Technology student Ronan Richardson and Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Information Technology student Lucy Staines developed a digital healthcare suite which streamlines patients’ medical records and provides medical practitioners access to a wide range of patient management tools, including their prescription medication history.

Their solution, awarded as the Most Effective Technical Solution, aims to improve the patient and health practitioner experience with a front-end centralised view that allows authorised users to access previously generated prescriptions for specific patients.

IT Student Ronan Richardson presenting his project

Final-year Bachelor of Software and Network Engineering students Joshua Varghese and Hung Tran were tasked to work with the University’s Digital Information and Technology (DITM) unit to provide a service catalogue solution for UC staff.

In collaboration with the University’s Service Improvement team, the duo built a page within the Staff Portal which had a comparatively more user-friendly search function for existing services. As part of their project, which was named the Most Innovative Solution, they incorporated an AI chatbot to answer user queries in real time.

“The fact that we got to work on something that will impact UC staff was exciting. It’s not a hypothetical scenario – we worked on something which will help members of this University to work more efficiently,” Mr Varghese said.

For Ben Tolley, a final-year IT student majoring in cybersecurity and systems administration, his project focused on building a cybersecurity tool that will help users combat the increase in online scams. His project, SafeClick, developed in partnership with CISCO and the Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre is an online platform that assists users in making more informed decisions about the riskiness of websites.

By entering a URL on the platform, SafeClick users are provided a risk score which Mr Tolley hopes will help people become more cyber-savvy and less susceptible to online fraud. The site also provides cybersecurity resources, and he hopes to expand the project in the future by including a risk assessment of mobile phone numbers to the services offered.

“It’s been rewarding to work on a project focused on a problem that’s becoming more prevalent for everyone, while also being able to work with, connect, and get feedback from industry,” Mr Tolley said.

“Beyond applying the technical skills I’ve learned throughout the course of my degree, I’ve learned so much in terms of project planning, management, and stakeholder engagement.”

SafeClick was selected as the Best Overall Project and will be presented by Mr Tolley to CISCO and National Industry Innovation Network (NIIN) representatives in Perth in the coming months.

“The Summer Intensive was great because it allowed students to break out of the classroom and get hands-on experience in the industry,” Mr Tolley said.

“It got us to dive into projects we otherwise would not really get to work on, and helped in building critical skills that will allow us to excel in the workplace in the future.”

Photos by Tyler Cherry.


Visit the Innovation Central Canberra website for more information about their programs.